Saturday, August 17, 2019

First Impressions of Remnant: From the Ashes

I'm only a few hours in to the weekend pre-access of this title, so my rating is subject to change, but for those interested, here's some initial impressions of Gunfire Games' and Perfect World's Remnant: From the Ashes, a third-person perspective co-op action RPG game:

1. RftA is 25% Dark Souls, 25% Diablo III, 25% Fallout (thematics mainly) and 25% PvE standard co-op shooter style (like Borderlands 2 or Destiny). It seems (so far) to have captured all the good parts of those games with none (so far) of the bad.

2. It's Perfect World, so I keep waiting for the monetization scheme, but nothing yet.

3. This is kind of addictive so far. I haven't enjoyed a game this much since Resident Evil 2 Remake. What is going on??? I am not used to a $40 title which feels like a solid experience, isn't trying to gouge me with microtransactions (I am wondering if those will come after full release?) and is actually a nice product with tight game play. This is very confusing.

Anyway, when I compare it to other titles, this is what I mean:

RftA has a structural similarity to Dark Souls (tough bosses, dungeons which reset if you rest at a checkpoint, an artifact with limited health restoration that replenishes, and a methodical timing-based combat mechanic). It is missing bad parts, such as corpse running to recover lost stuff, repetitive experiences when areas reset, and janky, pointless accicental deaths due to losing patience with the game's rigorous, almost fetishistic focus on forcing the player to repeat actions until they get it exactly right or figure out what they are doing wrong. RftA does not do this, not like Dark Souls. It is faster paced and so far I've only run into one baffling encounter which left me wondering what the hell the correct tactic was.

It's like Diablo III in that there are intermediary checkpoints where you can clear a boss or location, you can get zerged by hordes of monsters, and you can group with other players for a good co-op experience. You have a similar approach to finding loot, or in RftA's case lots of scrap and iron to develop your loot.

It's like Fallout in that the game feels thematically --almost suspiciously-- like a spiritual relative. The grim remnants of the apocalypse have a Fallout-ish vibe, although the monsters are more alien. The RPG bits you run in to and the music are very evocative of the Fallout vibe at times.

It's "standard PvE" co-op shooter in that you can get together in a team of three to tackle these tasks. It's perfectly fun solo, too....but the co-op will appeal greatly to those who have friends with like interests. Given the low cost of the game ($40) I am tempted to grab copies for the whole family so we can play it, although I don't know if the souls-like elements will frustrate them or not.

The souls-like portion is sufficiently absent serious aggravation to me for two reasons: you don't lose progress, and when you re-enter the area you died it seems to mix up the threat a bit, so you can't reliably predict what you will run in to, but you could also get lucky and find a lesser threat waiting. However, most importantly for it is it isn't as painfully slow paced as Dark Souls and I like this fact a lot. Also, just as important, I've only encountered one mystifying bad guy encounter. I'm at the first major boss right now, and while I haven't defeated it (yet) I can see the path to victory, just need to find the time to do it.

Anyway....Remnant: from the Ashes officially releases on Steam Tuesday, but if this sounds like your cup of tea I suggest you check it out!

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